Today was the final day of the Great Backyard Bird Count. I wasn’t sure if I was actually going to get out today because the forecast called for snow. We were able to go to Historic Smithville Park for about a half hour this morning. It was just barely snowing at the time and wasn’t accumulating yet.
I go to Smithville Park a few times a week with my mom and sister, although our purpose is not usually for birding, but walking for exercise. It’s not as busy with birds as my usual birding spots, but we do occasionally see some different species. One of my favorite parts of Smithville is the lake, where up to 3 Great Blue Herons live. Smithville used to be a small village with a factory and has been abandoned for awhile, but is now a historical place to visit. You can take guided tours of the mansion/village, canoe/kayak, attend their special events, and/or walk along the many trails.
Day 4 official count (5 species, 23 individual birds):
- 2 Mute Swans
- 1 Great Blue Heron
- 1 Belted Kingfisher
- 1 American Robin
- 18 White-throated Sparrows
For today, we stood by the lake and the old factory. It wasn’t too busy, but we were surprised for find what we saw. As we expected, the lake was completely frozen over.
The first bird we saw was a Great Blue Heron. He must be one of the residents who lives here year-round. The Heron was resting on top of the factory, huddling up for warmth. It know we were there but didn’t seem to mind.
In the small patch of water directly below the Heron were two Mute Swans. They were napping, then decided to swim around for a bit.
Nearby we heard a rustle in the twigs. My mom said she saw a medium sized bird land but didn’t see any other details. After a few minutes of waiting our mystery bird appeared: a Belted Kingfisher (another resident of the lake). It flew out of the brush swiftly and went towards the lake yelling its alarm call.
Before we left we observed a small flock of White-throated Sparrows kicking leaves around in search for food and a robin flying by. I was happy with what we saw, especially since I didn’t expect to see much of anything today.
Overall, I thought the Great Backyard Bird Count here at BirdNation was a success! It was the first time I was able to count on all 4 days. We contributed 22 species to the overall list which accounted for 1,090 individual birds! Not too shabby for temperatures under 25 degrees each day (not including wind chill!) and snow. I can’t wait to hear the total number from the Cornell Lab. What a great weekend of birding!